Welcome to the discussion forum of Ða Engliscan Gesiðas for all matters relating to the history, language and culture of Anglo-Saxon England. I hope it will provide a useful source of information, stimulate research, and be of real help. Ða Engliscan Gesiðas (The English Companions) maintains a strictly neutral line on all modern and current political and religious matters and it does not follow any particular interpretation of history. Transgression of this Rule will not be tolerated. Any posts which are perceived as breaking this Rule will be deleted with immediate effect without explanation.

Recent Posts

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
Old English Language / Re: The Pied Piper of Hamelin
« Last post by David on June 24, 2017, 05:51:40 PM »
There were some difficult bits to translate in the last two verses and they are probably even greater in this one. Do let me know if you have suggestions.
Once more he stept into the street,                                  Eft onġean hē stop on þā strǣt,
 And to his lips again                                                        And tō his smǣrum eft
 Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane;                     Læġde his langre pīpan smeðre rihtre hrēodgirde;
 And ere he blew three notes (such sweet                        And ǣr hē blēow þrīe swēġas (þylc myrge
 Soft notes as yet musician's cunning                              Smyltliċ swēġas swā ġīet dreamers liste
 Never gave the enraptured air)                                        Nǣfre ġēafon þā glædan lyfte)
 There was a rustling that seemed like a bustling              Hristlung wæs þe wæs swā brastlung,
 Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,          Of blīðum þrēatum scūfaþ ġewilcþ and sweng,
 Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,       Lӯtle fēt intrepettedon, trēowen scōs hrisodan,
 Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,         Lӯtla handa plegedon and lӯtla tungan writodon,
 And, like fowls in a farm-yard when barley is scattering, And, swā fugolas in feormehāmes ġeard þonne bēow is āstencende
 Out came the children running.                                       Þā bearn ūtfōron ieran.
 All the little boys and girls,                                              Eall þā lӯtlan cnapan and mæġdu,
 With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,                                  Mid rōsenum  hlēorum and fealum locum,
 And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,                         And ræscettungum ēaġum and meregreotlicum tōþum,
 Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after                           Intrepettedon and hlēopon, urnon blīðelīċe
 The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.           Þǣm wunderfulum sōncræfte mid ċeallunge and hleahtore.
General Discussion / King Eadred's Church?
« Last post by Eanflaed on June 23, 2017, 09:42:19 PM »

I didn't know about Penkridge and it's connections with Kings Eadred and Eadgar - has anybody any further info, especially about its being Eadgar's capital for a few years?
News & Events / Re: Leeds IMC 3-6/7/17
« Last post by Linden on June 23, 2017, 01:34:57 PM »
You are right - it is enormous and very busy.  I went last year but I was attending the sessions so I did not have much time to look around at what else was going on.  The book fair was excellent though - I bought quite a few books some with good discounts.

I won't be going this year because it clashes with other plans but I hope to go in future years.  If anyone goes, I would love to hear any opinions on which bits are worth taking time out from the sessions to visit. 
News & Events / Re: Leeds IMC 3-6/7/17
« Last post by Eanflaed on June 22, 2017, 10:34:00 PM »
Wow, it's huge, so much going on, some Anglo-Saxon stuff too. Hadn't heard of it before. Thanks Linden.
Anglo-Saxon Discussion / Re: Looting or respecting?
« Last post by Eanflaed on June 22, 2017, 10:26:14 PM »
The Hoard was buried within the roots of a big tree near Watling Street. The tree would have been a local landmark, making the Hoard easy to find again. The Hoard apparently had no other archaeological context, having just been put in a hole. Though I think they must have had a jolly good look when they were recovering the numerous pieces, some of which were actually poking out of the plough soil.
News & Events / Leeds IMC 3-6/7/17
« Last post by Linden on June 22, 2017, 08:37:17 PM »
The Leeds International Medieval Congress is held every year at Leeds University.  Although you have to register and pay for the academic conference, there are events and fairs that are free and open to the general public.  See here for information.

Old English Language / Old English Leechcraft
« Last post by Bowerthane on June 22, 2017, 02:58:12 PM »

Well, my confession is that I made a mental note last week to post a new thread for last night's BBC Radio Four's Science Stories about Bald's Leechbook and its role in supplying a cure for the MSRA problem. Then it just popped up and, it seems, nobody else alerted anyone here, either.

Hopefully you can still hear it on their Listen Again service:


Did anyone else catch it?

It was a good little round-up and notice was served about the Old Problem, that "the Anglo-Saxons" get snookered behind popular myths and negative caricatures, but now challenged insofar as they had a cure so useful in modern times, all those years ago.

News & Events / Re: Talking Tolkien on BBC Radio 4 at eight o'clock TODAY.
« Last post by Bowerthane on June 22, 2017, 02:38:39 PM »

“Source hunting is a great entertainment but I do not myself think it is particularly useful. I did read many of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ earlier works, but I developed a distaste for his Tarzan even greater than my distaste for spiders.”

That is from a letter Professor Tolkien wrote c. 1963 that I have just Googled up on a website called Sacnoth’s Scriptorium in the course of fact-checking for a proofreading job.  These “earlier works” by Edgar Rice Burroughs can only be his Martian or John Carter series of popular science-fiction novels, the founding example of what is now known as the “sword and planet” genre of science fiction.  Edgar Rice Burroughs broke through as a writer with the first of these, serialised in a US magazine under the title Under the Moons of Mars from 1911 onwards, then published as a novel in 1917 under the title A Princess of Mars.  These are US publication dates so, unless the young Tollers was a UK subscriber to an American pulp-fiction magazine in Edwardian times, he could hardly have read anything by Burroughs before he, by-then Lieutenant Tolkien was demobilised in 1918, having been posted to “the carnage of the Somme” in 1917.   

Which is all very thought provoking if you know a thing of two about post-Great War stage in the not-yet-professor Tolkien’s life: a young husband with small children, finding his feet in his first academic job, and abruptly dropping all his earlier interest in writing fairy poetry in favour of the raw beginnings of which The Silmarillion is the best known result.  Dropped it down the memory hole so well that Goblin Feet is about the only known survivor, and remains so obscure to many fans that they struggle to believe ( or accept) that Professor Tolkien once wrote poems about the butterfly-and-flower type of fairies for which he expressed nothing but asperity for the rest of his life.

So does any influence from Edgar Rice Burroughs help explain this volte-face of Professor Tolkien’s part?  Barsoom is the name for Mars in the Martian’s own language in Burroughs’ portrayal, the first example of ‘world building’ by a successful creative writer since Barsoom has its own language, geography and peoples etc., and even a history of decline.  John Carter is a sometime Confederate cavalry officer who, by a kind of astral projection, finds himself transported Barsoom, getting mixed up in its politics and wars, and getting romantically involved with Princess Dejah Thoris, of the city of Helium.  The expression “Elder Race” makes its literary debut in Burroughs’ Barsoom novels, in reference to an ancient race of Martians, the Warhoon tribe of the Green Martians could be pretty orcish ( one John Carter met was “decorated with the breastplate of human skulls and dried dead hands which seemed to mark all the greater warriors among the Warhoons, as well as to indicate their awful ferocity, which greatly transcends even that of the Tharks.”) John Carter does father a human-Martian dynasty and, arguably, the white bears are kinda trollish.  Then C. S. Lewis’ trilogy of Out of the Silent Planet ( in which Lewis’ male lead, Ransom, owes a lot to Professor Tolkien give or take him going to Mars, too), Perelandra ( Lewis’ sub-Tokienian name for Venus, where Ransom goes next) and That Hideous Strength ( where the ‘green shoots’ of Narnia are definitely poking through, as well as  Lewis’ repulsive and gormless misogyny) serves notice that the Inklings took an interest in ‘cosmic’ themes.  At a time when intelligent life could inhabit other solar worlds for all anyone knew, the possibility on an unfallen race, or one that didn’t execute their Messiah, piqued the curiosity of the Christian Inklings.

I have wondered whether Jonathan Swift’s yahoos influenced Professor Tolkien’s conceptualisation of the orcs. Yet given the resemblance between yahoo and wahoon I wonder whether they were on Burroughs’ mind, too, and any influence from Swift to Professor Tolkien could have been indirect as well as direct.  Yahoos were dumb brutes eerily reminiscent of later negative conceptions of the Neanderthals, but they weren’t warlike or even violent, as the Houyhnhnms have domesticated them.  Also Swift was eerily prescient in attributing two moons to Mars, 151 years before telescopes were good enough to spot Phobos and Deimos, so it needn’t be surprising that Burroughs checked out Gulliver’s Travels.   

But what do other Tolkienians say?  Anyone know their way round Barsoom better than I? Or otherwise have the advantage of me, here?

The moral right of the author to identify The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy by Christopher Lasch as one of the most prescient books of all time, certainly of the twentieth century, has been asserted.
Anglo-Saxon Discussion / Re: Looting or respecting?
« Last post by Bowerthane on June 22, 2017, 02:25:59 PM »

My heart is in speculation about the Staffordshire Hoard’s origins, but not my head.  Interesting though all this is, it always seems to wind up back at the fact that there’s so much we just don’t know.

I cannot persuade myself that the rough handling of the Crucifix is a slam-dunk for it passing through Pagan hands.  Churches often have to be locked these days because common crooks do whatever is expedient, and I can’t believe that side of human nature is new.

Do we know if any archaeology has been planned or attempted at the find-spot?  If the Hoard proves to have been buried under this or that part of a building, that could rule in or out some possibilities.  For instance: if the soil it was in showed signs of being burnt and held a lot of old cinders, the Hoard may have been buried under a fireplace.

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10